Thirty-three states plus Washington D.C. have officially implemented frameworks that allow residents to apply for medical cannabis. Several other states are in an ongoing legislative process to determine whether to legalize marijuana for medical use. In addition to these states, a further 10 have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
With such advancement in legislation, it is only natural that the use of CBD vape oil has increased over the past 18+ months. To put the CBD boom into perspective, experts estimate the market to be worth over $20 billion by 2022. Hemp-derived CBD and products like CBD vape oil are expected to account for much of this sum.
In spite of the expected increase in coming years, CBD vape oils have already deeply penetrated the market. Hemp-based products are available online and in stores, and most medical dispensaries carry a range of CBD eLiquids, vape juices, and more.
The Challenges with CBD Vape Oil
While CBD vape oil might seem like a miracle cure for many, lack of regulation has allowed companies to cut corners in terms of manufacturing and extraction. Low-quality products are prevalent on the market, and many are being sold without proper third-party lab testing.
Thus, it’s important for consumers to educate themselves about not only CBD vape oil but CBD in all of its various forms. In this article, we explain the variation between different CBD vape liquids on the market. This includes what to look out for when purchasing things like CBD oils, vape juices, and CBD e-liquids. Lastly, our medical professional shares his thoughts on how CBD vape oil can best be used to experience optimal results.
CBD Vape Liquid: The Difference Between “Cannabis” Oil and “Hemp” Oil
The main purpose of this article will, of course, be to go over the best CBD vape oils and eLiquids on the market. However, it’s important to point out the difference between cannabis-based CBD oil and CBD hemp oil. These are different products in terms of both content and legality.
Many use the term “CBD oil“ as an umbrella term to describe various products on the market. The truth is, hundreds of different products exist, and each can differ from the next. Some are cannabis CBD oils, some are hemp-derived CBD oils, and some simply claim to be CBD oil when in fact they are hemp seed oil – a totally different thing.
CBD cannabis oil and CBD hemp oil can both offer therapeutic benefits. The difference is that cannabis oils contain higher levels of THC – a substance that is still illegal federally. Under the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, hemp is a legal commercial crop. As such, hemp-derived CBD vape oils (and other CBD products) are being sold in all 50 states. The THC content of these products should not exceed 0.3%.
Also, this would be a good time to point out what “pure” CBD oil is. Pure CBD oil (also known as CBD “isolate” oil) can come from any variety of Cannabis sativa (marijuana or hemp). Manufacturers isolate the CBD compound from the plant, leaving behind a potent vape liquid with CBD levels upwards of 99%.
To put it more simply, when talking about CBD vape oils, juices, and eLiquids, products basically fall into one of two categories:
- CBD ISOLATE VAPE OIL
- FULL-SPECTRUM CBD VAPE OIL
Distinguishing Between Various Forms of CBD Vape Oil
Full-spectrum vape oils additionally break down into two major types: cannabis CBD oils and hemp CBD oils. Cannabis CBD vape oils, as discussed above, are only available in marijuana dispensaries. Most of these products contain THC levels above the federal limit of 0.3%.
Some dispensaries carry CBD vape liquids sourced from high-CBD marijuana. Some of these strains contain upwards of 15% CBD, and almost zero THC. If you have access to a medical or recreational cannabis dispensary, CBD vape oils made from these types of strains are typically very high quality.
Examples of High-CBD Cannabis Strains
Some of these “CBD-only” cannabis strains include Charlotte’s Web, AC/DC, and Harlequin. Again, however, these are typically only available at licensed dispensaries in states that allow recreational or medical marijuana use.
If you are a medical marijuana cardholder, you should have access to CBD products with different CBD-to-THC ratios. Those who live in restricted states usually can only obtain CBD hemp oil, which is what we’ll mostly be focusing on in this article.
Either way, if you are thinking of using a CBD oil with higher THC levels, it’s important to understand your state’s laws. Some states specify that CBD oil is only legal for specific medical conditions, such as epilepsy.
Hemp-Based CBD Vaping Oils and CBD E-Liquids
Quality CBD hemp oil comes from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant – NOT the seeds. Various extraction processes can be used, but most manufacturers opt for either CO2 or ethanol-based extraction. As we discussed, CBD vape oils made from industrial hemp can be bought throughout the US. While industrial hemp has typically been used for its tough fibers, several growers have bred strains that produce potent CBD-rich flowers.
From an availability standpoint, industrial hemp produces significantly lower amounts of THC. For this reason, hemp-based CBD vaping juices are theoretically available in all 50 states. However, many states have recently enacted vaping bans that cover both nicotine and CBD e-liquids.
DID YOU KNOW? Hemp-derived CBD vape oils are available anywhere in the US where vaping is permitted.
There is an argument that CBD hemp oil is less effective than CBD cannabis oil. However, there is little data to support this claim. On the contrary, CBD vape oils made from hemp contain the same spectrum of cannabinoids and active phytochemicals as other cannabis strains. The only difference is specific THC content. Hemp extract contains healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals and can help with symptoms stemming from depression, anxiety, pain, and more.
Now that we’ve distinguished some of the key differences between cannabis CBD oils, hemp CBD oils, and “pure” CBD isolates, let’s take a closer look at hemp and how high-quality CBD vape juices are made from these plants.
A Word on Hemp Legality from Dr. Ted Valley:
It is important to remember that though CBD products are available in all 50 U.S. states, each state has different regulatory authority over the substance. Further, in some cases, facilities have been audited or raided.
There have also been some cases of purchasers being detained for being in the possession of CBD oil products – despite the apparent lawful nature of the product. It is important for the consumer to know that there is some risk associated with using CBD oil.
Where Is Hemp Grown – and Does It Still Have to Be Imported?
In December 2018, President Trump signed a new version of the U.S. Farm Bill into law which had pretty major implications with regard to the legality of hemp in the United States. Basically, the bill legalizes the commercial production of hemp. This is as long as it is grown under specific state regulations that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
This is a major step forward for domestic hemp production, as over the last several decades (pretty much since the 1930s) the U.S. has had to import nearly all of its hemp from other countries – namely Canada, Eastern Europe, India, and China.
| The 2018 Farm Bill means that hemp can be cultivated domestically, leading to higher quality.
Now that the government is realizing there is a massive market for hemp-derived products, they are taking measures to ensure that American companies can reap some of the financial benefits, rather than having to outsource everything from foreign entities.
Of course, the FDA will still have to develop regulations concerning the production and sale of hemp-derived CBD products before they can be fully, 100% legalized in the United States (even though companies have been selling CBD hemp oil at will for the last half-decade).
The FDA’s regulation of CBD vape oils (and other CBD hemp products) would probably end up being a good thing as it would largely eliminate the substandard, low-quality products that have been flooding the market ever since the boom in CBD popularity (more on that later).
What’s the Difference Between CBD Vape Juice and CBD E-Liquids?
Now that you have a basic understanding of hemp, marijuana, and the fundamental differences between cannabis CBD oil and CBD hemp oil, let’s explain the difference between CBD vape juice and CBD e-liquids.
Once upon a time, things were pretty simple. You would buy an extract, place a few drops under your tongue, and that’s it. Nowadays, there are so many different ways to consume CBD, it’s hard not to get confused.
CBD vape juice, sometimes called CBD e-liquid (or simply CBD vape oil), is a general term. People use it to describe a CBD oil made for use with a vaporizer. People call pre-filled cannabis CBD oil cartridges e-liquid, CBD vape juice, or CBD e-juice.
Unlike pure CBD oils that you find in a bottle, these are usually made with propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerine (VG) – thinning agents that make the “juice” liquidy enough to work with the heater coils found on a vape pen. These cartridges are created typically using CO2 extraction methods. They can be replaced over and over again with huge varieties of CBD-infused liquid.
In states with recreational laws on marijuana use, you will find CBD vape juice produced from cannabis. You can also purchase pure CBD isolates, which means there are no other cannabinoids in the mix. However, it should be mentioned that 100% pure CBD isolate is not believed to be as effective as full-spectrum CBD products.
| CBD vape juice comes in many varieties, including full-spectrum and CBD isolate.
This is because it’s recently been discovered that cannabinoids work better when they are present along with other whole-plant cannabis compounds. These include compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytocannabinoids (like CBG and CBC).
More on Vegetable Glycerin (VG)
Once extracted, oils can be mixed with different additives and isolates to make thousands of different products. Those who prefer the “traditional” style of smoking may add nicotine juice. Most companies that sell CBD oil for vapes, however, mix in vegetable glycerine (VG). As said earlier, this ingredient is compatible in most vaporizing devices.
Other than VG, formulators also use another substance to thin out vape juice called propylene glycol (PG). This lowers the viscosity of the oil and allows the mixture to easily wick. Scientists know PG has some potential health concerns, unlike VG. It can turn into formaldehyde vapor at temperatures above 230 degrees Celsius, for instance. Fortunately, most producers nowadays are opting for VG over PG or PEG400 (another type of CBD vape oil thinning agent).
What About CBD Vape Juice – Is It the Same as CBD Vape Oil?
Believe us, keeping up with the “cannabis lingo” and all the various terminologies out there is definitely not easy — or fun. And we do this full-time! To answer the question of whether or not CBD vape juice and CBD vape oil are the same, yes, they are…. for the most part.
As we mentioned earlier, the broad term “CBD vape oil” is generally used to describe any CBD-based product that has been made specifically for a vape pen. The thing you need to understand is that there are massive differences between CBD oils that you ingest orally (i.e. that you place under the tongue and swallow), and CBD vape juices that you put in a vape pen and inhale.
Think about it – two very different “mechanisms” of consumption are at play when you put oil under your tongue and swallow it, compared to when you sublimate a viscous liquid and inhale the vapor. While the end result is ultimately the same (i.e. CBD is administered into your bloodstream), these processes are not interchangeable.
In other words, DO NOT try to vape an oral CBD tincture, or sublingually “ingest” a vape-specific CBD vape juice — the results will not be favorable!
Take Extra Caution When Shopping for CBD E-Liquid
Another thing to consider altogether when shopping for CBD vape products is safety. This is something which definitely is not considered enough in today’s market. We get it – when considering something like smoking or vaping, safety is probably the farthest thing from your mind. If 99% of tobacco smokers, for example, had any regard for safety, do you think they’d do it at all? Probably not.
Ultimately, the same goes for CBD “vapers.” If there is a patient out there who is vaping CBD as a means to achieve relief from a medical condition, do you think that the “safety” of their oil is the first thing on their mind? Highly doubtful.
However, people who vape CBD e-liquid need to take considerable precaution when choosing their product, as the current unregulated nature of the industry has made for some pretty questionable products to hit the shelves – both online and in stores/vape shops across the U.S.
Consider this: while the dangers of tobacco are well-known and well-documented, officials at least regulate the industry in a way that allows consumers to know what they’re ingesting. For instance, have you ever seen the massive “This Product Causes Cancer” warning labels on the side of cigarette packs?
It’s scary, but at least it’s transparent.
The Challenges with CBD Products
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the current state of the cannabis industry, which includes CBD e-liquid. While there are plenty of high-quality, professionally-manufactured vape liquids out there that are probably pretty safe to consume, there are dozens (if not hundreds) more that are totally bogus- and potentially dangerous.
Take the CBD extraction method, for instance. As we already discussed, one of the most common thinning agents that is used in order to convert raw CBD concentrate into a viscous liquid compatible with vape pens is propylene glycol. While we’re no doctors or molecular pathologists, this is not a substance that you probably want to be inhaling.
| Some of the thinning agents and ingredients in CBD e-liquids can be harmful to the user.
Producers have distillation methods that are fully capable of purifying and ridding the concentrate material of potentially dangerous residue chemicals; but only the most sophisticated, knowledgeable, and reputable companies out there use these methods.
As such, more so than cigarettes – or any other tobacco products – one must take considerable precaution when selecting a CBD e-liquid for use in a vape pen, as the unregulated industry is resulting in some “sketchy” (to put it nicely) products that are making their way onto shelves and online stores alike.
In short, the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ has probably never been as relevant as it is right now, at least in regard to the CBD vape oil industry. If in doubt don’t buy cheap CBD products – it’s just not worth it.
CBD Regulatory Insight from Dr. Ted Valley:
From a regulatory perspective, CBD products may still contain THC even if producers label them as certified THC-free. As with most other regulatory requirements concerning food and supplements, there is some latitude given. Some places consider a product THC-free if its amount is under a certain level.
Now, take into consideration if you have a career that requires drug testing, you may test positive after long term use. This happens because THC – like other oils – is fat-soluble. The body absorbs it into your body tissues for later use. This also means that, over time, THC levels will continue to rise. Eventually, they will reach the point where you will have measurable amounts in the blood. This caveat will lead to the possibility that you may fail a drug test; even if you are being compliant with the law.
(For a list of several CBD manufacturers whose products stand up the rigors of third-party lab testing, check out these vape oils and eLiquids).
What to Look out for When Purchasing CBD Oil
No matter what type of product you’re specifically looking for, there are a few different tips and techniques that you can employ to ensure you’re not only getting a safe, well-made oil, but also an oil that will actually work for what you’re trying to use it for. In general, always try and keep the following five things in mind when browsing around for CBD vape liquids:
1) The CBD oil milligram catch
One of the main things to watch out for when purchasing CBD vape oil is the “milligram catch.”
This is a confusing tactic that some companies use to “skew” the amount of CBD that the product they’re selling actually contains.
For example, when companies write on the bottle “350mg,” this doesn’t always mean that you are getting 350mg of CBD. What it means, rather, is that you are getting 350 mg of oil in total, which is a big difference.
As we explained above, CBD oil can be a mixture of different ingredients, one of which is pure CBD. When purchasing CBD oil or CBD hemp oil, it is always important to understand the level of real CBD within the bottle. The company should test the products and clearly display information on the label.
If in doubt, don’t be afraid to call the company and ask them. And if they can’t answer you in a clear manner, you know it’s time to check out another option.
Change “The company should clearly label and write this percentage on the label” to “The company should test the products and clearly display information on the label.”
Anyone out there in internet land can say that they have the best product on the market, but third-party proof can’t lie. As we mentioned, the CBD oil market isn’t a rigorously monitored and regulated one as of present, and therefore it is often hard to determine the good oils from the bad.
Established brands understand this, and therefore use third-party testing labs to review their products. If you are considering purchasing CBD oil from a brand – especially online – then always make sure that they use a third-party lab to test their products and that they have no problem sharing the lab results with their customers.
3) Overselling with popups
One of the major things that make us question a CBD oil brand is their marketing efforts; in other words, you can tell a lot about a company by the way they advertise.
For example, here at WayofLeaf, we don’t tolerate too many pop-ups or different promotions that try to get you to leave your details. That’s because the minute you enter your email and phone number, the company constantly spams you with promotions telling you to buy different CBD bottles or liquids that you don’t really need.
An established, trustworthy company shouldn’t have to oversell its products. You should be able to shop around, view their products, and make an educated decision. You should even be able to call or chat with them without being harassed or rushed into buying any one particular thing.
4) “Free” samples (but they take your credit card)
Free samples always sound amazing, but sometimes they’re a trap to overcharge your credit card. Time and time again we receive stories of customers telling us that they received a free sample from “XYZ brand.” In the end, the company charges them at a later date for the whole bottle — without their permission.
Also, some CBD oil companies will tell you that you are going to receive a FREE sample; then they ask you to pay for shipping. If you are receiving a sample from a reputable company, one that is trustworthy, then giving over your credit card details shouldn’t be a problem.
If you have never heard of the company, though, you should definitely think twice; and if a company is willing to give you a free bottle of CBD oil, then they can certainly afford to pay a few bucks for the shipping.
5) The CBD oil extraction process
Ultimately, the extraction process will determine the quality and purity of your CBD vape oil. There are many different extraction processes out there. CO2 extraction is the desired extraction process for most.
CO2 extraction is a sophisticated method that uses supercritical CO2 to extract the goodness (aka the active cannabinoids) from the plant. At specific pressures and temperatures, the CO2 acts like a solvent. It displays properties of both gas and liquid. This allows the CBD to be “pulled” from the plant cells with near 100% efficiency.
What if You Don’t Want to Use CBD Vape Liquid?
People can consume CBD in many different forms. The most popular form is actually CBD oil drops. Companies also refer to these as tinctures. These tinctures come in a variety of different flavors. A patient simply needs to place a few drops under his/her tongue to consume the oil.
Dosage can range anywhere from less than a milligram to over one full gram (1,000mg). A single dose typically ranges between about 5 to 30mg. In terms of what dosage you need, it is important that you do your own research.
As a general rule, start with a low dose and gradually increase over time. If you have questions, be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare provider.
Dr. Ted Valley
Of course, one of our favorite ways to consume CBD – as we have outlined above – is with a vape. If you decide to add CBD oil to something like a vape pen, though, it is important to ask the company if its products are suitable for vaping. Not all oils are alike — and not all CBD products are good for vaping (as pointed out earlier).
Naturally, formulators make most CBD oils for standard oral consumption, but some actually can be used for both. If you recall, we mentioned earlier that CBD vape oil should be mixed with vegetable glycerine (VG) so that the vape pen or e-cigarette is viscous (liquidy) enough to be able to function with vape pen e-coils.
More on Alternative CBD Consumption Methods
Vape pens will heat the cannabis oil at a low temperature. This creates a smooth vapor stream rather than a harsh smoke. CBD oil for under-the-tongue administration is generally not good for vaping. It’s much too thick to work with the vape pen e-coils. In fact, it can actually be dangerous to use oral CBD oils with vape pens. You might end up inhaling cuticle wax and “residue” chemicals in addition to the actual CBD.
Also, apart from oil drops and vaping, you can also consume CBD by eating CBD gummies. Gummies generally contain anywhere from 5 to 30mg of cannabidiol per piece and are extremely easy to consume. There are a few different companies on the market worth checking out that sell high-quality gummies, including one of our favorites – a Florida-based brand called Green Roads. Green Roads formulates all of its products without preservatives or artificial flavors. Consumers report using them for anxiety, stress, and even stubborn, hard-to-treat pain.
Where to Start with CBD Vaping?
Whether you decide to take CBD as an oil, edible, CBD vape juice, CBD e-liquid, or even in the form of a gummy bear, you’ll soon see why it is being used by millions of people worldwide. While it may not “cure” you of your current ailment, there is a chance that it can help you.
If CBD vaping is what you’re interested in, though, here is a list of our favorite providers ranked by quality, purity, and transparency. Most are good for vaping, while others are excellent to take in the form of drops. Be sure to always double-check each product to understand what use it’s made for.
At the end of the day, it’s always important to do your own research before purchasing any CBD vape juice or oils.
We hope you found this article to be informative and useful. For even more tips about top-quality oils, check out our table below!